Andy Hwang emerged as the champion of the 2013 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Open on Friday after besting a field of 1,042 to claim his first WPT title and the top prize of $730,053. Hwang, who was the chip leader on Days 3 and 4 of the tournament, overcame a roller-coaster ride at final table and eventually defeated James Anderson heads-up for the victory.
The six-handed final table began with Mike Gogliormella and former WPT champ Matt Salsberg on the short stack with around 20 big blinds each, but it took 71 hands before the first player was eliminated. That misfortune went to Salsberg, who moved all-in preflop with and was called by Anderson's . The board ran out , giving Anderson a full house and denying Salsberg his second WPT title in as many years. Salsberg, who won the WPT Grand Prix de Paris in September for €400,000, added another $147,671 to his career winnings.
Ten hands later, Jeremy Druckman followed Salsberg to the rail when his failed to improve against Anderson's after all the chips went in preflop. The fell on the flop, and Anderson's set of kings held up to eliminate Druckman in fifth place for $182,514.
Anderson took the chip lead after that hand, but it didn't take long for Hwang to reclaim the pole position. In what turned out to be the biggest pot of the tournament up to that point, action folded to Hwang in the small blind and he raised to 450,000. Matt Haugen called in the big blind and the two players saw a flop. Hwang checked, Haugen bet 900,000, and Hwang check-raised to 2,250,000. Haugen fired back by moving all-in, and Hwang quickly called off for his entire 6.8 million-chip stack.
Hwang's top pair was out in front, but Haugen was drawling live to a flush. The turn was the , bringing no help to Haugen, and the river secured the double up for Hwang, who was now sitting on a stack of nearly 14 million.
That hand left Huagen short stacked, and he made his exit only a few hands later. Huagen pushed all-in preflop for around 10 big blinds with and Anderson called with . The dealer rolled out a board of , and Haugen was sent home in fourth place for $222,336.
The eliminations continued coming quickly as Gogliormella made his exit four hands later. He moved his short stack all-in preflop with and needed to improve against Anderson's . The best hand held up through a board, and Gogliormella walked away with $265,475 for his third-place finish.
That left Anderson and Hwang playing heads-up for WPT glory. Anderson (16,550,000) held a slight lead over Hwang (14,600,000) when the match began, but once again Hwang regained control and grinded his opponent all the way down to around 3 million chips. On his last stand, Anderson moved all-in preflop with and Hwang called with . The board came , bringing no help to Anderson and thereby sealing the win for Hwang. In addition to receiving his first WPT Trophy, Hwang collected $730,053, which includes a $25,000 seat for the WPT World Championship at Bellagio in May.
Next week, the World Poker Tour will make its way to sunny Hollywood, Florida for the Lucky Hearts Poker Open. The $3,500 buy-in event will run from Feb. 8 through 12, and we'll be bringing you daily recaps for the duration of the event. Keep it locked in to PokerNews.com for all the latest from the World Poker Tour.
Photos and data courtesy of WorldPokerTour.com.